MANILA, Philippines – The road to the PBA Governors’ Cup crown has only gotten tougher for San Miguel as June Mar Fajardo misses significant time, but the Beermen have no options but to soldier on.
Fajardo is expected to sit out majority of the playoffs after sustaining a knee injury during their East Asia Super League Champions Week campaign in Japan.
The six-time PBA MVP played just seconds for San Miguel in its blowout loss to Japan B. League side Ryukyu Golden Kings as he hurt his left knee following a collision with American import Jack Cooley in the first quarter.
“[June Mar is out for] six to eight weeks,” said Beermen head coach Jorge Gallent. “I just hope that he recovers really well. I and the players are here fully to support his recovery.”
San Miguel showed it can survive without Fajardo as it got back on track in the Governors’ Cup with a 120-106 win over NLEX on Wednesday, March. 15.
Cameron Clark rose to the occasion in the absence of Fajardo, churning out conference-highs of 45 points and 17 rebounds to help the Beermen improve to 8-2.
“They learned how to win and how to play without the big boy,” said Gallent.
“I hope they continue playing hard and playing with a lot of effort because I know June Mar is a big factor here so we have to really double up on offense and defense when June Mar is not here.”
Whether Fajardo can make it in case San Miguel reaches the finals is not much of a concern for Gallent as the Beermen gear up for life without their top big man.
Set to face Rain or Shine on Friday, San Miguel has yet to determine its playoff seeding, with its fate also hinged on the result of the final elimination round game pitting TNT against Barangay Ginebra on the same day.
The Beermen can finish No. 1 at best and No. 3 at worst.
“If the finals come, lucky for us. And good if June Mar will be there,” said Gallent. – Rappler.com
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